Encyclopedias can provide an introduction to a popular music theme or subject. Besides listing biographical information, statistics, recordings, and definitions, encyclopedia articles may also recommend further reading.
Use the basic word(s) anywhere or advanced keyword search in the library catalogue. You can search using words for such things as historical periods (e.g., baroque, renaissance, romantic), musical genres (e.g., punk, folk songs, symphonies), musical styles (e.g., galant, bop, minimalist music), instruments, and individual musicians.
|Truncation symbol:||?||e.g. pop? will retrieve catalogue records containing the words pop, popular, popularist, etc.|
|Phrase searching:||"___"||e.g. "rock music" will retrieve catalogue records containing the phrase rock music|
|Boolean operators:||(), AND, OR, NOT
|e.g. "popular music" AND (quebec OR canada) will retrieve catalogue records containing the phrase popular music AND either of the words quebec OR canada|
From the Basic Search screen of the Classic library catalogue, select Call number begins with... and enter one of the call numbers below, or simply browse the Music Library shelves at:
|ML3469 – 3541||Popular music – general|
From the Basic Search screen of the Classic library catalogue, select Subject heading begins with... and enter one of the phrases below.
Punk rock music
Music and globalization
Women rock musicians
Women in music
Gender identity in music
Feminism and music
Music and race
Music and technology
Try adding these phrases to the headings above:
history and criticism
criticism and interpretation
For example: Punk rock music - history and criticism
The most efficient way of finding periodical literature is to search in literature databases, since individual articles are not indexed in the Library catalogue. Try the following databases:
Music—and popular music in particular—is a multidisciplinary area of study. You will find much relevant literature in other literature databases related to women studies, alternative presses, history, political science, communication/mass media studies. Access these from the McGill Library Article Indexes and Databases.
Newspapers are often useful sources of profiles of popular musicians and performance reviews; or broader discussions of popular culture. Consult McGill Library's Newspapers page to gain online access to recent Canadian and international newspapers.
The full text of free Quebec weeklies, such as The Mirror and Voir, that cover many alternative groups and performances are indexed in Newscan.com.
Online historical newspapers include the complete run of The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, the New York Times, and The Times (London).
In general, however, pre-1990 newspapers are searchable only through print indexes and full-text is found on microfiche only.
All print indexes to newspapers and general-interest periodicals are available at the Humanities and Social Sciences Library in the Reference Section. Ask a reference librarian for assistance in selecting the proper index for the newspaper and year of interest. Please note: performance reviews may not be found in every index or may be grouped under a specific heading such as “Concerts, review…” or “Performance” or “Reviews.”
Dissertations are book-length papers written by graduate students in partial fulfillment of a Ph.D. or other doctoral degree requirements. Because they represent new areas of research and undergo a rigorous academic evaluation process, dissertations can be excellent resources for finding information on popular music topics. Be sure to check their bibliographies for further reading.
For more online dissertation resources, consult the theses page.
The Music Library audio / video collection includes many popular music recordings. For further information on locating these recordings consult the How to find recordings page.
The Music Library subscribes to several recordings databases. For a complete list, consult the Music Library's Audio page. One option is DRAM, which focuses on avant-garde music released on smaller labels such as New World, Albany, and XI Records.
Accessible to anyone with an Internet connection.